Living close by doesn’t mean you see each other much in New York City

In a lot of cities and towns across the world, when you have friends and family who live just a few blocks from each other, it tends to mean you see each other quite often, whether that’s intentionally planned or by chance. Somehow, when you live in such a densely populated city like New York where people live in these huge high rise buildings with endless units, it’s easy to literally never see familiar people… ever, unless it’s actually planned and scheduled. That’s what it’s like with seeing Chris’s mom’s cousin and his wife and family, who literally live just four blocks from our apartment, but in the last several years of us living in this building, we’ve seen only twice.

Chris’s mom sent an email to her cousin letting him know that I was pregnant, and so he and his wife invited us over for dinner this evening. While I didn’t expect to stay for nearly six hours and until midnight, that’s exactly what happened. We talked about a lot of things, including, of course, the pandemic, the pregnancy, and family. His mom’s cousin and wife are always very warm and welcoming, and his wife has the most infectious, bellowing laugh. From the way they have their house arranged and various items like serving trays and endless ice cream scoops, it’s obvious that pre-pandemic, they are used to hosting and entertaining friends and family often. In fact, a lot of Chris’s family and extended family are like this. I always wonder why my parents are always so standoff-ish and cold at the idea of hosting people over even for something as simple and easy as tea when I am around Chris’s relatives.

I was thinking into the future when we are tentatively planning to bring Pookie Bear to San Francisco to see family and friends, and I was wondering about what the dynamic would be like, if we have friends and family coming in and out of the house to see the baby and how awkward and frustrated that would make my parents. I can already imagine my mom getting stressed out for nothing, thinking about food that needs to be in the house, tea that needs to get served, cups and plates that need to get washed. I’ve always enjoyed hosting people over at my own places I’ve lived, and I clearly do not get that from either parent.

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